Dying Matters is a coalition of organisations which was set up to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.

They are aiming to bring about a fundamental change in society in which dying, death and bereavement will be seen and accepted as the natural part of everybody’s life cycle. Changes in the way our society now views dying and death have impacted on the experience of people who are dying and bereaved.

Our lack of openness has affected the quality and range of support and care services available to patients and families. It has also affected our ability to die where or how we would wish.

The Dying Matters Coalition is working to address this by encouraging people to talk about their wishes towards the end of their lives, including where they want to die and their funeral plans with friends, family and loved ones.

Dying Matters Week aims to help you start those conversations because palliative care, medical and bereavement professionals know from experience that talking about dying makes it more likely that you, or your loved one, will die as you might have wished.

Equally importantly, it will make it easier for your loved ones if they know you have had a ‘good death’.

Dying Matters Week is 14th May-20th May 2018.

Florence Nightingale Hospice invites you to come and talk about death and dying at our Death Cafe events at the following times and places:

  • Monday 14th May, 2pm-4pm at Drake Day Room, Amersham Hospital
  • Tuesday 15th May, 2pm-4pm at Marlow Community Hospital
  • Wednesday 16th May, 2pm-4pm at Thame Community Hospital, East Street, Thame
  • Friday 18th May, 2pm-4pm at Florence Nightingale Hospice in the Day Hospice.
  • Friday 18th May, 2pm-4pm at Buckingham Hospital.
  • Saturday 19th May, 11am-1pm, The Education Suite, Walton Lodge, Walton Street or parking via William Harding Close.

At a Death Café people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death.

Death Café was founded by Jon Underwood based on the work of Bernard Crettaz.

The founders of Death Café say that their objective is "to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives".

A Death Café is a group-directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session.

Florence Nightingale Hospice invites you to come and discuss death and dying at our Death Café events at the following times and places:

  • Monday 14th May, 2pm-4pm at Drake Day Room, Amersham Hospital
  • Tuesday 15th May, 2pm-4pm at Marlow Community Hospital
  • Wednesday 16th May, 2pm-4pm at Thame Community Hospital, East Street, Thame
  • Friday 18th May, 2pm-4pm at Florence Nightingale Hospice in the Day Hospice.
  • Friday 18th May, 2pm-4pm at Buckingham Hospital.
  • Saturday 19th May, 11am-1pm, The Education Suite, Walton Lodge, Walton Street or parking via William Harding Close.

Tea, coffee and cake will be provided (for a donation). Entry is free although not all the venues have free parking so please check in advance.

Find out more about the Death Café concept here.

Liz Monaghan, Specialist Palliative Care Matron at Florence Nightingale Hospice, says that families who have discussed end of life care with a loved one who is dying or who has a long-term terminal condition are usually far less stressed and cope much better when their loved one is dying or dies because they know exactly what to do, what their relative would have wanted.

This means that there are no debates or worries about the right thing to do for them if they aren't able to communicate their wishes any longer. If they have already discussed resuscitation or where their family member wants to be to die, this takes a lot of stress away.

Discussing this ahead of time means that you as an individual will be more in control of your death, and are more likely to have a 'good death'.

Your family can then spend your last days and hours with you in the comfort of knowing that they have followed your wishes.

But many people today just don't know how to start that conversation. And that's where Dying Matters can help.

People who are dying usually know what is happening to them. Nevertheless, when a dying person believes relatives and friends can’t cope with the truth, it can be hard for them to talk about what they’re experiencing or ask for what they want or need. This can leave them feeling isolated and lonely, not knowing how to reach out or say goodbye.

Click here to find out more about starting a conversation about death and dying, and about how to respond when someone close to you wants to have that conversation.

Get in touch with the Hospice team via Liz Monaghan, Specialist Palliative Care Matron at Florence Nightingale Hospice on liz.monaghan1@nhs.net.

You can also find out more about the Bereavement Support offered by Florence Nightingale Hospice and Buckinghamshire NHS Trust here, or contact the team via email on bht.fnh.bereavement@nhs.net